The MOLLE vest is one of two main parts comprising the MOLLE military backpack system. Vests in the MOLLE design are available in options as varied as the jobs of military personnel. Each vest comes with an arrangement of PALS webbing for attaching modular pouches, but will also be configured for battle or mission-specific conveniences.
MOLLE vests are generally used for firearms accessories and magazines. Being designed to break away from the storage pack for urgent mobility, the vest is more combat-oriented than the storage design of the pack. Adding to the magazines and firearms accessories soldiers can store their ballistics pads in an arrangement of their choosing. Vests can also be found with interior pockets for document storage, exterior radio pockets and gas mask pouches.
Placing an emphasis on ergonomics and comfort in design, the MOLLE vests have a simple sturdy closure system and are made from nylon with mesh ventilation where heat congregates on a soldier’s body. The vests lack any clips or hooks that might create friction and abrasions when rubbing against a soldier’s skin on long marches or extended missions. The majority of the MOLLE compatible vests come with a built-in belt for additional storage, magazine carry or holstering of small arms and grenades.
The storage functionality of the MOILLE vests are complemented by a design intended to disperse weight through the shoulders and hips. The thick shoulders (available with rifle pads) and belt take weight from the back. Since the vest is always worn, and design for desert combat was its main inspiration, they can accommodate the new tube hydration system. This tube hydration system is meant to supplement the one-quart canteen, and additional water can be transported in any of the modular pouches or in the pack. Water delivery is necessary for any soldier on the move. Containing some of the water in the vest eliminates the potential for dehydration if a soldier has to ditch his storage pack in combat.
The Tactical MOLLE Vest and Civilian Uses
While the MOLLE assault vest comes in a variety of camo patterns, a MOLLE tactical vest is straight black and usually not intended to work with the hydration system. The MOLLE tactical vest is used by law enforcement agencies as well as by civilians. The MOLLE vest has also become popular for paintball, since it has various MOLLE pouches that can be used to carry extra paint and gear.